Dakar 2019 Stage Five
Moquegua > Arequipa 776 km – Jan 11th
The second part of the two-day long marathon stage, Friday’s stage five of this year’s Dakar brought competitors back to the Arequipa bivouac. The stage featured a mass motocross style start off the beach at Moquegua.
Riders set off in groups of 10 according to their finishing positions from the previous day’s stage four, each group split by five minutes. From the beach, competitors headed into the Ilo dunes for the remainder of the 345-kilometre timed special. With a number of riders racing together on the stage, split times were close to every waypoint.
Starting in the first group, Sam Sunderland got off to a solid start, opting not to push straight away and risk a mistake or incident with a fellow competitor. Coming across a fallen Paulo Goncalves, Sunderland stopped and assisted until the medical team arrived, setting off again after 10 minutes. Pushing hard to make up time the sand specialist demonstrated the skill he is known for, almost catching the front group before the finish. With the time lost awarded back to him, the Brit had done enough to win the stage and move up to second in the provisional overall standings, closing to within a minute of outright rally leader Ricky Brabec.
Sam Sunderland – Stage P1 – Overall P2
“Obviously the first thing is to wish Goncalves the best after his accident – it’s always scary when you see that happen in front of you. I stayed with him for over 10 minutes but it’s difficult to gauge how long you’re actually stopped for. A lot of riders passed us and so when I got going again, I just pushed as hard as I could. It’s so difficult when you are behind like that, to know if you are gaining on the guys in front or losing ground. I saw the group just before the finish so I knew I had made up some time. I’m lying second now and it’s been a good first half to the race, but I know if the next five days are going to be anything like these we’ve just had, it’s going to end up as a seriously tough rally.”
Yamaha’s Xavier de Soultrait secured a solid runner-up result on Friday’s stage five of the 2019 Dakar Rally and moved up to eighth in the provisional overall standings.
Xavier de Soultrait – Stage P2 – Overall P8
“It was another good stage for me and I’m really happy with my second place. I started the special at a steady pace to preserve my tyres. The pace was fast and there were some dangerous spots in the special. As we were getting closer to the end of the special, I was feeling great on my bike so I decided to push hard for a good time. I made my attack and when I got to the finish I was told I had won the stage. Later on we learned that Sam Sunderland was given back the time he lost to assist an injured rider, so he ended up winning the stage with me a close second. I’m wrapping up this first week of the rally on a high. I’m really happy with the way things have worked out for me so far and I’m looking forward to the second week that starts on Sunday.”
It was another strong stage for defending Dakar Champion Matthias Walkner. After clearing the group that had formed following the morning’s mass-start, the Austrian was able to increase his pace and put in an excellent performance on the latter half of the special. Walkner was the first to cross the line, posting the third fastest time just over three-minutes down on team-mate Sunderland. Unfortunately, a three-minute speed penalty then dropped Matthias to an eventual 10th.
Matthias Walkner – Stage P10 – Overall P7
“It’s always fun to set off motocross-style on the beach like that, but I didn’t get the best start and then as we hit the Fesh-Fesh I found myself in clouds of dust and wasn’t able to do anything about it. It carried on like that for around 200 kilometres and it was really frustrating. Things improved towards the end of the stage where I was able to get in front and open the piste. I pushed hard then and made up some good time and was actually the first to finish. My ankle is still sore but I don’t think it is affecting my pace, especially when the adrenalin is flowing. I just need to be careful that I don’t put my foot down and twist it more when I’m riding. Now I am looking forward to the rest day tomorrow.”
Earning a fourth-place result for the day, WR450F rider Adrien Van Beveren remains fifth in the event’s provisional overall standings.
Adrien Van Beveren – Stage P4 – Overall P5
“This Dakar is proving to be quite challenging. Coming to Peru we thought it would just be racing in the dunes, but it turns out there’s a lot more than just sandy dunes. Today we went through some parts with fesh-fesh and lots of stones. Despite not being my favourite terrain, today I got a great feeling on the bike and was able to push. I took my time and once I felt confident in this terrain I was able to ride the way I know. This Dakar is not just about raw speed. There’s lots of parts where you need to be patient and think about the overall classification. I felt I could have possibly won the stage today, but I wanted to make sure I had a good starting position for Sunday so I slowed down a bit towards the end. This race is really intense. There’s 10 to 15 racers who are able to win stages and you need to be on top of your game each day. I’m in a good position now for the next stage and I’m looking forward to it.”
Pablo Quintanilla finished 13th on stage and slipped to third in the provisional overall.
Pablo Quintanilla – Stage P13 – Overall P3
“Five days done and I’m in a great position in this rally. The first part of the stage was a lot of fun. I took the lead after the mass start, but then decided to stay off the gas a bit. My eyes are focused on the overall classification and I’m in a good spot to attack during the second week. Today I felt great on my bike. I was able to get a good pace and do my own race. The Dakar is always a long event and you need to always see the overall picture. I’m happy with my performance today because I’ve managed to put myself in a great position for Sunday’s stage six. I am feeling great physically and I’m looking forward to the second week. It’s important to get back as much time as possible on Sunday so that I can then control my pace for the rest of the race.”
Toby Price again put in an extremely brave performance to place ninth on the tough stage five. Despite aggravating the injury to his wrist, the 2016 Dakar Champion was able to maintain a solid pace throughout the timed special and goes into the rest day in a very creditable fourth place overall after losing a rank overnight.
Toby Price – Stage P8 – Overall P4
“It was a really, really tough day for me today. Starting in groups of 10 on the beach means that you not only have to fight for position with other riders, you have to keep an eye on your navigation while dodging the rocks and dust thrown up by the guys in front. My pace today was good but I cased out on one drop and that put a lot of strain through my wrist again. I was able to continue, but I am really thankful for the rest day now. I am happy to have reached the halfway stage of the rally so hopefully after a day off I will be ready to go again on Sunday.”
Despite losing a little time with just five kilometres to go, Laia Sanz completed the fifth stage in 20th position, and now sits 19th in the overall standings. Happy with the pace on her KTM 450 Rally, Laia is glad of tomorrow’s day off but is looking forward to the remainder of the rally.
Laia Sanz – Stage P20 – Overall P19
“My day went well today, I am happy with my speed and rhythm especially with everyone riding together and the times being so close. I’m not so keen on the mass-start, it’s more difficult to judge things when you are riding in a group like that. I did lose a little time today right near the end of the stage when a rock got stuck in my rear wheel but overall it was another good day. I’m pleased with how the rally is going so far, but I’m definitely looking forward to the rest day tomorrow.”
During tomorrow’s rest day, riders will catch up on some well-needed sleep and prepare themselves physically and mentally for the challenging week of racing that lies ahead.
2019 Dakar Rally
Provisional Results Stage Five
- Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, 4:11:48
- Xavier de Soultrait (FRA), Yamaha, 4:15:11 +3:23
- Lorenzo Santolino (ESP), Sherco, 4:15:48 +4:00
- Adrien van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 4:16:14 +4:26
- Andrew Short (USA), Husqvarna, 4:16:24 +4:36
- Luciano Benavides (ARG), KTM, 4:16:24 +4:36
- Stefan Svitko (SVK), KTM, 4:16:53 +5:05
- Toby Price (AUT), KTM, 4:17:33
2019 Dakar Rally Outright Standings after Stage Five
- Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 16:51:34
- Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, 16:52:33 +0:59
- Pablo Quintanilla (CHI), Husqvarna, 16:54:26 +2:52
- Toby Price (AUT), KTM, 16:54:55 +3:21
- Adrien van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 16:58:10 +6:36